What's the Difference Between Shedding and Hair Loss?

Discover the nuances between shedding and hair loss. Learn causes, treatments, and prevention strategies in this comprehensive guide.

Hair shedding and hair loss can be sources of anxiety, but they're not the same, and knowing the difference can be a source of comfort. Hair shedding is part of the natural renewal cycle, with 50 to 100 strands falling out daily, often because of stress, hormonal shifts, or the changing seasons. While it can be unsettling to see extra hair in your brush, shedding usually balances out as new hair grows to replace it. Hair loss, on the other hand, is more serious and needs to be addressed promptly. It’s not just a few extra strands—it's a noticeable thinning that might leave bald patches or a receding hairline. This kind of hair loss can stem from genetics, illness, or other underlying health issues, and it doesn't always correct itself without intervention. Read on to learn how to identify the differences and see what you can do to help your hair stay full and healthy.

The Hair Growth Cycle

The hair growth cycle is the foundation upon which your hair is built. The hair growth cycle consists of three distinct phases: anagen, catagen, and telogen. During the anagen phase, hair grows actively, typically lasting between two and six years, depending on individual genetics and health. Following this is the catagen phase, a brief transitional period of a few weeks where hair growth stops and the follicle begins to shrink. Finally, the telogen phase is a resting stage, lasting a few months, where the hair remains in place before eventually shedding to make room for new growth. This is why it’s normal to see shedding hair daily as your strands are not all in sync with each other, and experience this cycle on different timelines. 

Various factors can influence the hair growth cycle. Stress, hormonal changes, nutrition, and certain medications can alter the cycle's timing and progression. Genetics also play a significant role in determining the length of each phase and the overall rate of hair growth. By understanding this cycle, you can better comprehend the reasons behind hair shedding or thinning and find appropriate ways to maintain a healthy growth pattern. If you're experiencing noticeable hair growth or loss changes, it is time to take action.

Shedding: Nature's Way of Renewal

Hair shedding refers to the natural process where hair falls out as part of the hair growth cycle, allowing room for new strands to emerge. It's characterized by hair strands found in your brush, pillow, or shower drain, usually between 50 and 100 strands per day, though this can vary. Hair shedding is generally temporary, lasting a few weeks to a few months, depending on factors such as stress, hormonal fluctuations, or health changes. There are different types of hair shedding, with seasonal shedding being one of the most common. This type often occurs during seasonal transitions, like from summer to fall, and typically resolves independently. Non-seasonal shedding can be triggered by stress, dietary changes, medication, or underlying health conditions and may require further investigation if it persists or becomes excessive. Understanding the patterns and triggers for hair shedding is key to managing it and distinguishing it from more severe hair loss conditions.

Recognizing Abnormal Hair Loss

Abnormal hair loss is distinct from regular shedding and is characterized by noticeable and persistent hair reduction. It leads to more significant thinning, bald patches, or a receding hairline. Signs include clumps of hair falling out or a significant increase in hair found on pillows, brushes, or in the shower drain. Unlike typical shedding, which is evenly distributed, abnormal hair loss might be concentrated in certain areas, causing patchiness or uneven texture. 

Differentiating between shedding and hair loss involves looking at the pattern, frequency, and amount of hair loss. Shedding is usually due to stress, hormonal fluctuations, or seasonal changes, while abnormal hair loss may be caused by underlying health conditions, genetics, certain medications, or chronic stress. If you notice sustained hair loss or if the hair fails to grow back, it's important to take action as quickly as possible to stop hair loss in its tracks and, in some cases, reverse it.

Treatment Approaches for Hair Loss

Hair loss treatment methods vary depending on the cause and severity of the condition, ranging from topical solutions to surgical interventions. Here are a few methods you can turn to for help when your hair seems like a total loss:

Topical Treatments and Medications: These are applied directly to the scalp to stimulate hair growth or prevent further loss. Minoxidil, a well-known topical treatment, is available over the counter and can be used by both men and women. It works by improving blood flow to hair follicles, encouraging hair growth. Corticosteroid creams can also be prescribed for hair loss caused by inflammation or autoimmune conditions like alopecia areata.

Oral Medications: Some hair loss conditions respond to oral medications. Finasteride is a common option for men, working by blocking the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is linked to male pattern baldness. Other oral medications include spironolactone, used for hormonal imbalances that contribute to hair loss, and specific dietary supplements to address nutritional deficiencies. Oral medications are usually prescribed by a healthcare provider and may have side effects, so consultation is necessary.

Surgical Interventions (Hair Transplantation): Surgical procedures like hair transplantation can be effective for more severe or permanent hair loss. This method involves harvesting hair follicles from areas with dense growth (typically the back or sides of the scalp) and transplanting them to balding or thinning areas. 

Natural Remedies and Home Treatments

Natural home remedies can be an effective way to slow or even stop hair loss. These approaches use herbal supplements, essential oils, scalp massage techniques, DIY hair masks and rinses, and products like the Jolie Filtered Showerhead to improve hair health without harsh chemicals:

Herbal Supplements and Essential Oils: Herbal supplements like saw palmetto and ginkgo biloba promote hair growth by blocking the hormones contributing to hair loss. Essential oils such as rosemary, lavender, and peppermint can also stimulate hair follicles and improve scalp health. 

Scalp Massage Techniques: Scalp massages can improve blood flow to hair follicles, aiding in nutrient delivery and potentially stimulating hair growth. Using your fingertips, gently massage the scalp in circular motions, focusing on areas where hair is thinning. You can enhance this technique by incorporating essential oils or a small amount of warm oil, such as olive or coconut oil, to moisturize further and invigorate the scalp.


DIY Hair Masks and Rinses: Homemade hair masks and rinses can help strengthen hair and prevent further loss. Popular ingredients include avocado for moisture, egg for protein, and honey for its antibacterial properties. A simple hair mask can be made by blending avocado and honey, while a rinse might involve diluted apple cider vinegar to cleanse the scalp and balance its pH level.

The Jolie Filtered Showerhead: The quality of water used to wash your hair can affect hair loss. The Jolie Filtered Showerhead removes chlorine and heavy metals from the water, reducing dryness and scalp irritation. By filtering out these impurities, this showerhead helps preserve hair's natural oils, keeping it hydrated and less prone to breakage, which can contribute to hair loss. With the simple swap of a bathroom fixture, you can drastically reduce the rate at which your hair is shedding. In fact, in a robust study conducted by a third-party research lab, 81% of all participants saw a significant and noticeable reduction in their hair shedding, and 30% saw it reduced by more than half.

Summary: Shedding vs. Hair Loss

Hair shedding is perfectly normal and is no cause for alarm. Hair loss, on the other hand, is far more drastic and may require immediate action. You can employ plenty of methods at home to combat the rate at which you’re losing your hair, both natural and prescribed, but without providing the proper foundation, you’re fighting an uphill battle. Choose the path of least resistance and invest in a Jolie Filtered Showerhead. Switching out your plain old showerhead for a high-powered, sleekly designed Jolie gives your hair and scalp the fighting chance they deserve to return to their former glory.



What causes excessive hair shedding?

Seasonal changes, hormonal changes, and dry scalp are common causes of excessive hair shedding.

Can stress lead to hair loss?

Absolutely, stress releases cortisol, the stress hormone, which can disrupt your hormonal rhythm and lead to hair loss.

Are there any natural remedies for hair loss?

Essential oils, moisturizing treatments, scalp massages, and showering with a Jolie Filtered Showerhead can all help reduce hair loss or shedding.

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